A father falsely claimed he was the victim of a sex attack by a man in an attempt to help a friend.
Robert Fisher complained to police he was orally raped as he sat in a van with a registration plate that started BJ 08 in June last year.
A diligent detective soon became suspicious but it did not prevent the victim of his lies being arrested at Stansted Airport in front of relatives as he returned from a holiday.
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
Fisher, of Hospital Road, Sevenoaks, was jailed for 16 months this week after admitting perverting the course of justice.
Prosecutor Trevor Wright said Fisher, 55, went to Tonbridge police station on June 15 last year and reported the rape.
He wove an elaborate story about taking a train from Sevenoaks to Bromley to meet a woman, but getting off by mistake in Petts Wood.
He continued that he did not have a ticket and was fined £400.
He said he went to the nearby Sovereign of the Seas pub, where he played darts and pool and started talking to the man he was to accuse of raping him.
After almost five hours the man offered him a lift to Sevenoaks. It was while they were sitting in the van smoking a cigarette, he said, that the man grabbed him and launched the sex attack.
Fisher added he managed to break free and run off and then walked home. He described the van and gave part of the registration number.
The man was arrested as he returned from holiday in Cyprus on July 14 last year.
When questioned at Tonbridge police station he said the allegation was completely false and he had never met Fisher.
The man did, however, reveal that he had made a similar allegation against another man - who turned out to be Fisher’s friend.
"It was a far from sophisticated attempt. It was gone about in such an incompetent way it was bound to unravel" - Christopher Surtees-Jones
The man said he did own a van with a number plate that started BJ 08 but it had been written off in an accident some time before.
When arrested in October Fisher admitted fabricating the account to help his friend.
The allegation against his pal was false, he claimed, and he wanted the man to experience being arrested and the impact on his life.
The case against the friend was eventually dropped because of insufficient evidence.
Mr Wright said Fisher’s victim spent several hours in custody before being released on bail in the early hours of the next day.
Fisher had numerous previous convictions including fines for fare-dodging on the railway - but not on the date he claimed.
Christopher Surtees-Jones, defending, said Fisher had been “breathtakingly stupid”.
He told Judge Jeremy Carey: “You may think it was doomed to failure from the start. It was a far from sophisticated attempt. It was gone about in such an incompetent way it was bound to unravel.”